News / 21 June 2024

More than 20 researchers from around Australia plunged deep into the world of cryogenic electron tomography (cryoET) at our specialist imaging training course, ‘Freeze, Frame and Focus: Mastering Cryo Electron Tomography’, last month. 

The week-long course was delivered by world-class imaging experts, including Head of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory Imaging Centre Professor Jan Ellenberg, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Princeton University Ellen Zhong, University of Tokyo Professor Rado Danev and Dr Martin Obr of Thermo Fisher Scientific, and offered a unique opportunity for researchers to deepen their understanding of cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) techniques, with a dynamic program of lectures and practical, hand-on workshops in microscopy and data processing.

Cryo-EM is a crucial scientific technique enabling researchers to explore the intricate structures and behaviours of cells at the molecular level. By leveraging cryoET, scientists gain unprecedented insights into biological processes, paving the way for transformative discoveries in medical research and beyond.

Course lead and Director of the Ramaciotti Centre for Cryo-Electron Microscopy, Associate Professor Georg Ramm, said the course focused on different aspects of cryo-electron tomography and covered a range of relevant techniques and topics for studying biology in situ, such as: Cryo-CLEM, cryo-focused ion beam milling, cryo-electron tomography, sub tomography averaging, including deep-learning methods for subtomogram averaging in situ with cryoDRGN-ET, as well as future developments in the field.

“The EMBL Australia course was the first hands-on course in Australia entirely dedicated to cryo-electron tomography and will hopefully contribute to building a lively research community around these exciting new technologies,” Professor Ramm said.

Held on 27 – 31 May at Monash University, the course was generously sponsored by Microscopy Australia, the Ramaciotti Centre for Cryo-Electron Microscopy, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Thermo Fisher Scientific.  

Feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive, with many stating the course greatly expanded their understanding of the cutting-edge imaging technique and would impact their research capabilities.

Professor Fasséli Coulibaly, who leads a lab studying structural virology at the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, said the training program was highly valuable.

“The course was a fantastic opportunity to gain an advanced introduction to cryo-ET,” he said.
“The speakers pitched at the appropriate level and provided ample opportunities to discuss practical and theoretical challenges.” 

Attendees also attended the launch of the state-of-the-art Titan Krios G4 microscope at Monash University and were amongst its first users. 

A huge thank you to the fantastic international and local speakers and trainers, who generously gave their time, and organisers Georg Ramm and Ricki Mailloux. 

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